We are delighted to have recently acquired an amazing collection of scrapbooks created over 60 years by Mr Michael Fritz. Over this period Michael, a carpenter living in West London and an avid cinema fan, has made scrapbooks on filmmakers, national cinemas, film festivals, and genres and subjects in film.

The Museum's curator Dr Phil Wickham, and Academic Director, Prof Helen Hanson with Michael, collecting the scrapbooks from his house in London.

Each page was created separately so that it could be inserted into the most appropriate scrapbook. The scrapbooks are all the same size, and, in many cases, Michael used his design talents to make a striking cover, as you can see in the examples below. The collection of over 200 scrapbooks has now been generously donated to The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum by Michael, now in his mid-80s. The museum is the leading cinema museum in the UK, and the scrapbooks can now be enjoyed by the public and researchers alike.



Michael was originally from Germany and the cuttings contained in the books are from Germany and France, as well as Britain and America. He is interested in all kinds of cinema from around the world and the scrapbooks cover everything from Steven Spielberg to Luis Bunuel, from British Cinema to films in Brazil, Africa, and India.

Michael says the following about his love of film:

“My first ‘moving’ picture I saw when I was about 7 or 8 years old: a Christmas present for me and my brother and sister- a little toy projector (bagalit).This included 1ft. Celluloid strips, which showed simple cartoon figures in black and white which, when the toy was activated by a battery, made the figures move their arms and legs so they were walking before a changing background. These little strips were drawn from a much loved German children’s book Max +Moritz by Wilhelm Busch.

I fell in love with these moving pictures and this love never left me all my life.(I am 86 years old now).

Of course, I tried the real cinema, which was a challenge since, due to my age, I was not allowed to watch films without an adult. Thankfully there was a hole in the OUTSIDE door so I could see but not hear what was shown (mostly dubbed French films- we lived in the French Zone after the war). At that time the little cinema in our small town had, like most cinemas ,only one projector and due to reloading, this caused a pause in the showing of the film. My first experience unaccompanied INSIDE a real cinema was either Träumerei (Harald Braun —about the life of Robert Schumann, or Rembrandt (Hans Steinhoff).Squeezed in between a real audience and lost inside the darkness left me spellbound. I was glued to my seat and did not dare to leave when nature called and so I had an embarrassing accident. Later I learned that the break was also used also to go to the toilet.

Then came the period of reading about what so fascinated me: Paul Rotha, Andrew Sarris, Lotte Eisner ……reading the critics and articles on film and filmmaking in whatever paper or magazine I could lay my hand on. Cut and glued, filed, properly dated with the time of publication and the names of the papers, these became my scrapbooks. I designed some covers using cut out pictures and lettering trying to reflect the mood of the filmmakers.

A stint at the Slade School hearing its first Professor of Cinema, director Thorold Dickinson (Gaslight,Queen of Spades etc) gave me the possibility to get to know films by Renoir, Griffith, Keaton and more. Also of course at that time the once great television channels gave us the unforgettable Hollywood series made by Kevin Brownlow and the Thames Television Silents shown with music by a full orchestra.(Chaplin, Lloyd, Niblo, Ramon Novarro ,……-) and I fell in love again.

This prompted me to, besides concentrating on the releases of the PRESENT, to search for the treasures of the PAST. The discoveries for me were immense; Melies, Lumiere, Feuillade, Francesca Bertini…Asta Nielsen…..I could go on and on.

With the coming of Video and DVD I created my own vast Cinemathek. A projector and a big screen in our kitchen became our ‘Kitchen Cinema’ . We- my dear partner Dante and me - every evening after dinner,  enjoyed films of the present or the past ,English, French, German, Italian, Indian, Polish, Spanish……,present or the past. We had exciting times with Bogart, Wayne, Cagney…with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, Monroe, „The Lady Eve“, „The Women“…..Laurel and Hardy, even Esther Williams…..

When Dante died in February 23 our cinema was closed. No more films….only memories of films ….happy ones!


I must admit that my scrapbooks could not be better in better hands than The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum.The books will help future students and anyone interested in learning about Cinema and its fascination".

Phil Wickham, the Curator of The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, said; “We are so pleased and grateful for the donation of the scrapbooks from Mr Fritz. They are beautiful objects that are the product of a lifetime’s love of cinema”. At the museum we offer a people’s history of moving images and scrapbooks are a great example of how audiences actively engage with what they have seen. In Michael’s case the books are works of art in themselves, but the way he has compiled them also means that The Michael Fritz Collection is also a fantastic resource for researchers looking at a range of topics in film history and, indeed social history.


We hope to display some of the books later this year and they are all available to be accessed by researchers.

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